>Just a couple of reflections on this week’s conversations, posts, and emails:
1) The biggest response was to the idea that “Christmas reminds of this every year: live in the place, speak the language, love the people, and show the way. It’s called incarnation and it is how God works in the world.” I am always intrigued by what draws the most responses and this one really got me thinking. I wrote my Master Thesis on this topic and so it is an everyday aspect of my thought life… but it dawned on me that I have not said or done much here with the idea. I will have to build this into more of the posts down the road – since it is the thing that I care the most about in real life!
2) Mashing things together is a real problem. several examples surfaced this week after the Pod was recorded.
– Like saying “worship” and meaning what happens on Sunday morning when we are together and singing. That is such a shallow definition of worship.
Worship is a whole life response to God’s gracious love and lordship. Trees worship on Tuesday nights as much as I do when I sing on Sunday morning. A nursing baby worships in the early hours of morning with her mother – who is also worshipping in the same act of offering. The mechanic worships when he does an honest estimate for a transmission repair.
Thank God for honest mechanics and nursing mothers and trees as the grow toward heaven.
– When we say things like “God showed up”… I know what we are after but, it is such a bad understanding! God was already there and at work long before you showed up , in fact – it might be WHY you showed up. God was calling. SO to say that we did this, sang this, prayed this and then God showed up is bad language and worse theology.
3) Incarnation is HOW god works. I agree with John Cobb when he says : I think that is it a BAD understanding of power to say that God does whatever he wants in the world and however it is is how God wanted it.
Saying that the world is the way that God wants it is not true. God is not that kind of powerful.. God is a different kind of powerful. I say that God is weak. Some people do not like that I say that.
Some say that God self-limits (I get what they are doing with that).
Some say that God is persuasive rather than coercive (I agree).
Others say that God is sovereign like a King is sovereign – unable to control every move and decision of every member of their Kingdom… but in charge of it (I like this).
Still others say that God is storing up his judgment for the End (I worry that they might be disapointed with how gracious God is in the end).
However you come at this, I think you have to admit three things:
a) God does not do whatever God wants
b) The world is not the way that God wants it
c) as Christians, we should look to Jesus as our model when we look at God’s methods
4) This is why I keep saying that it is almost as if Jesus did not come! When Christian ministers, theologians and lay people talk about power or love – it is almost as if this was done without reading the Gospels of Jesus Christ. Most of the definitions are about some ancient conception of God or some philosophical assertion about God – but what they clearly are NOT, is reflective of the revelation of God in Jesus.
I know that it is probably too cynical to say that Jesus came into a world where the Powerful reigned, he presented a vision of humility, and then the Powerful co-opted Jesus and went back to being Powerful only now it is in Jesus name.
I look at organized religion and think to myself “it is almost as if Jesus never came”… when you look at Priest centered – Temple worship and then Roman power structures, it is tough to see sometimes what difference Jesus makes.
Sure – the TOPICS are changed and the SUBJECT is different, but the motives, the methods and the models are almost unchanged… but like I said , that is too cynical.
OK until next Tuesday – I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and I pray that you are safe in your travels this Holiday season!